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By now, if you haven’t seen the video of the would-be robber of a taqueria and it’s customers getting shot, you are in the minority. When I first saw it, I implemented the 48-hour rule as I wanted to see what else came out. It’s now well past 48-hours, so here goes.
One of the best analyses I’ve seen is here at the always excellent Legal Insurrection. If they are not a daily read, they should be. In this case, the author of the post is a noted legal expert on use of force/deadly force/etc. For all I would love to see Guy Relford break this down for Indiana law, the article is an excellent breakdown that actually cites some of the relevant Texas law. It is well worth the read, and should provide a lot of good food for thought.
Now, some personal takes and experience on the shooting.
On many levels, this is a FAFO moment and a fitting fate for a career violent felon. For all that I can understand, and even sympathize a bit with the shooter, for me it crossed a line. And I say that as someone who has been shot at by someone committing a crime and who also accidentally broke up an armed robbery that also featured a perp with what turned out to be a fake pistol. Circumstances matter. If this had been in a period of violence or other breakdown of authority (given crime and soft prosecutors, you could make that argument IMO), I’d frankly be inlined to give it a pass.
But, it wasn’t and I agree with the author of the linked post a good bit. The first group of four shots was righteous. The second group was, for me, iffy. Given all, would be very inclined to give benefit of the doubt. The last shot was a kill shot, and probably superfluous. It is that shot that is likely to see the shooter indicted and convicted. Politically, very wise to convene a grand jury (though those are easy to rig) to do any indicting. That said, even if indicted the shooter has a fair chance given this happened in Texas. Will see what happens.
Now, for some of the handwringing I’ve been seeing online.
First, there is no law that requires you to only shoot someone in the front. To think otherwise is to engage in romantic ignorance void of reality. Whether in your own defense, but particularly in the defense of others, the safety of those others is of paramount importance. To use deadly force in that situation requires you to think about and act in accordance with trying to maximize their safety, not minimize it. The shooter showed good thinking with his actions, as he waited until the armed robber was not observing him and further that his gun was not pointed at any of the other victims. That the gunman waited until he had a green board says some good things about him. In fact, I hope they mitigate things.
Second, the claim that because he was turned away and headed towards the door made it an unrighteous shoot. Bullshit. You have no idea what that person is going to do next. They might run, they might decide to kill everyone they can, the fact is you don’t know and you have to expect the worst. If you don’t get that, ask the ghosts of all those killed simply to eliminate witnesses even after they’ve handed over the till, safe, jewels, etc. without a fight. You have to assume the worst, hope for the best, and act without a lot of time for introspective thought. Whatever happens, a lot of people who find themselves in that situation will second-guess themselves for years to come with what-ifs.
Third, it was an unrighteous shoot because the gun was a fake. Oh, save me. First hand experience: an evening of visiting various, er, cultural establishments in Columbus, Georgia resulted in a need to refuel my friend’s car and for me to offload. Long story short, I broke up an armed robbery. Even as things started to unfold, a part of me noted that something was odd with the perp’s gun. Turns out, after some chaos, shooting and a very brief chase by me, it was eventually discovered that it was a toy. Problem is, in the few brief seconds of time you have, you need to be acting, not thinking. Go with real gun, it’s safer for you and others. Also, keep in mind that it can be a thing to put orange tape or other devices on real guns to make people think they are toys. Deal with the situation as it appears and sort things out later when there is time.
All you can do is the best you can do. Take a gun law course in your state from someone who knows what they are doing. Don’t just practice, get training and even advanced training if you are going to carry. Know the law, know the tactics, and most of all, know yourself. Spend some time thinking about how you will deal with things if you do have to shoot, especially knowing that everyone from the prosecutor onto the keyboard warriors and the screaming gibbons of corporate media are going to paint you as a murderous psychotic no matter what. Think about it, figure ways to cope, and prepare as best you can. It’s never enough, but a start helps in the long run.